The Suffers
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The Suffers

Houston, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Houston, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Band R&B Reggae


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Holiday Hangover Hell Yeah Show at Warehouse Live, 12/28/2013"

Quiet Company is an unusually dynamic band, and they sounded terrific, which made it a little puzzling that the Studio wasn't even halfway full -- until it turned out that Rocks Off's own advice man Willie D, who had already made one cameo at Warehouse Friday night during Public Enemy's set, was making another one to introduce the Suffers as "the best Houston music has to offer."

It's getting harder and harder to disagree with him, which is not something anyone would want to do lightly anyway. Still rolling out songs from their upcoming debut album, the plus-size ensemble has a lot going on. And a lot to recommend them, but the bottom line is it takes as much personnel as the band can muster (which felt like more than usual Saturday) to match the sheer force of Kam Franklin's vocals. Slowly working up the crowd through some mellow reggae and lush Chicago-style R&B (think the Chi-Lites), soon enough she had them going as crazy as a church service. And the Suffers keep right on picking up steam. - Houston Press Village (Voice Media)

"Highlights From SXSW"

Texas Music
Something often overlooked in coverage from SXSW: There are a lot of great acts from Texas. We were most impressed with The Suffers, a 10-piece soul band from Houston with a healthy mix of R&B, jazz and Latin influences fronted by Kam Franklin on vocals. Fans of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings will appreciate this new group. -

"As SXSW Begins, Eyes Are on the Local Bands"

THE SUFFERS The Houston rap stars Willie D and Bun B have championed this 10-piece collective, even though their sound is built on Gulf Coast soul, reggae and R.&B. not hip-hop. “Gwan,” a preview of a full-length set for release later this year, features a bold conga breakdown and devastating Chaka Khan-like vocals from Kam Franklin. - The New York Times

"Houston Press Best of Houston Awards Winner: Best Stage Show 2013"

The Suffers have Houston's best stage show because there's so much to look at: cucumber-cool keyboardist and bandleader Pat Kelly; steady-rolling; drummer Nick Zamora; guitarists Kevin Bernier and Alex Zamora; bassist Adam Castaneda; a three-man horn section doing that old JBs side-to-side; "Chapy" Luna going to town on all manner of percussion — congos, timbales, bongos and more — and of course Kam Franklin up front, a singer whose voice is as bodacious as her Afro. The multiple Houston Press Music Awards winners have so much going on onstage at any given time, they're as fun to watch as their intoxicating Island-flavored stew of reggae, rocksteady, ska, R&B and a whole lotta Gulf Coast soul. And even still, the Suffers' stage show is not even kind of close to the action they create on the dance floor. - Village Voice Media-Houston Press

"Sofar Houston Feat. The Suffers"

The headlining act is none other than multiple Houston Press Music Award winners The Suffers, who in their short lifespan have risen to the top of the city's totem pole, and is perhaps the best band in H-Town. Every show they play is something of a religious experience, filled with soul and love, magical, playful, and intense.

They are also asked by the sound guy to play something for soundcheck, and they choose "I'm Still In Love" by Alton Ellis. The bass line provided by Adam Castañeda is enough to get the crowd grooving.

They open with their standard opener "Gwan", with the esteemed conga powers of percussionist Jose "Chapy" Luna setting the mood. The band then leads us into their newest songs "Slow It Down" and "Step Aside", which I've had on repeat on my Spotify playlist since it was released back in early June. They call themselves "just a few guys (and a gal) having a good time playing the music they love". Nothing could be more perfect as that description. The smile on their faces as they play and sing lights up the darkened room, filling the space with gorgeous notes from the horns and sweet vibrations from Pat Kelly's keys and organ.

The fun track "Good Day" follows, and the crowd bounces along with Kam Franklin's vocals and dance moves. "Midtown" is more rock than the other tracks, with hints of Chicago or Carlos Santana Band thrown in for fun. The crescendo at the bridge of the song is something fierce, leaving the listener (myself) making an almost warrior face, then dropping all the way low for the guitar ending. Definitely a fun, roller coaster ride of a song.

"Make Some Room" is by far my favorite track, with lyrics of making sandwiches and micheladas (and making love) winning me over every time. Besides, the song is damn near perfect, with soulful pleading and enough emotion to make even the stiffest audience member dance. "Can't you see! We could be!" I sing along as I dance and hold hands with my date. As much as I've enjoyed this band solo in the two years I've covered them, having a lady by my side makes their songs exponentially more poignant and moving.

The set ends with "Giver", a gospel-esque offering that is too beautiful for words. The night ends, but the room wants more. The band encores with "No, No, No" by Dawn Penn.

Is there a better band in Houston than The Suffers?

No, No No. - Houston Press (Village Voice Media)

"The Best Acts We Saw at the 2013 HPMA Showcase, Part 2"

The best two acts I saw at the HPMA's were both acts I was seeing for the first time. The first was The Suffers, Houston's most buzzworthy ska/soul outfit -- so much so that I am forced to use the word "buzzworthy," which I despise -- commanding the stage with the skill and confidence of a much older band. And damn, can singer Kam Franklin ever belt a note to the rafters.

At the end of the ir gigantic, emotionally harrowing set closer "Giver," the girl standing in front of me actually started getting choked up. "I'm sorry!" she laughed to her boyfriend, fanning her eyes, "That was just fuckin'... too much!" JOHN SEABORN GRAY - Houston Press- Village Voice Media

"The Suffers, “Slow It Down”/“Step Aside” 7" Review"

First of all: it’s about damn time. I know The Suffers haven’t been around that long, it’s true, but ever since I first ran across ‘em in 2011, I’ve been dying to get my hands on an actual, decent-sounding release. Call me paranoid if you want, but for a while there, I was afraid the band would call it quits or something before the music actually saw the light of day — it’s happened before, alright?

But lo and behold, my prayers were answered, and here it is, still a little smoky from The Suffers’ hot-as-hell set at this year’s Summer Fest: the band’s debut 7?, in all its old-school rocksteady/soul majesty. I definitely had high hopes for whatever the band came up with, given their collective pedigree as essentially a Houston ska/reggae supergroup, but damn. They’ve blown any expectations I had right out of the park.

The A-side, “Slow It Down,” is probably my favorite of the two by a knife-thin margin, and that’s largely because it’s a showcase for frontwoman Kam Franklin’s sultry, husky voice; the woman’s one of the best damn singers I’ve heard in recent years, bringing to mind The Tontons’ Asli Omar and even the Queen herself, Aretha Franklin, in her delivery.

And as she floats and grooves along, the rest of the band gives the Dap-Kings a run for their money (or maybe The Adjusters, given the ska connection), crafting a warm, soulful sound that practically dares you not to smile. The song’s flat-out beautiful, a perfectly-done soul song that wouldn’t have sounded out-of-place on Stax or Motown back in the day; it’s brimming over with hope that things’ll maybe, just maybe work out this time.

The Suffers drift southwards for B-side “Step Aside,” aiming for less of a soul sound and more of a straight-up rocksteady vibe, and they nail it awesomely there, as well. Organist/singer Patrick Kelly pleads and croons nicely while the band rumbles and bounces, bringing to mind Toots & The Maytals and more contemporary folks like Hepcat, Venice Shoreline Chris (who joined them onstage at Austin Reggae Fest back in April, I’m told), and The Pietasters (heck, the latter comparison fits with the A-side, too, come to think of it).

So, am I happy now? Well, listening to The Suffers, I feel like my day’s brightened up somehow, like everything I’m worrying about really isn’t that big a deal in the end, so I can just let it go. Hell, they’ve even managed to make the headache that’s plagued me the past 24 hours go away, at least temporarily. Beyond that, I just can’t stop smiling now, so I’d say the answer to whether I’m happy now that this band’s finally released their debut single would have to be, “hell, yes.” And now, I want more. Keep it coming, folks, please.
- Space City Rock

"Best of Free Press Summer Fest: Mavis Staples sizzles, Mayor Parker dances, crowd surfers scale fence"

This group is exactly who you want kicking off a festival. Looking at the daytime lineup for the Mars stage, which included The Suffers, Kashmere Stage Band, Mavis Staples and Cat Power, you can imagine the pressure put on this Houston area rocksteady group.

Kam Franklin, the bands animated vocalist, gave the later acts a serious run for their money when she and her band were on the stage. She and the group delivered rhythm and harmony throughout the set, which got the hardcore Free Pressers going before noon on a Sunday. If you need any more proof of Franklin and The Suffers’ power, it’s worth noting that liquor purchases at Free Press Summer Fest aren’t legally able to be made before the start of an 11:40 a.m. set on Sundays.

Keep an eye on this band, music fans.
- Culture Map

"FPSF: The Suffers, Disco Daddies get Day 2 party started"

The Suffers provided an early wow moment with a polished, pitch-perfect set. Kam Franklin works the stage like a star; her sweet, airy voice has the ability to pierce through the clouds. She was backed by a bright horn section, and the entire sound was informed by a seemingly limitless list that included pop, soul, funk, jazz and reggae. It was a sunny, soulful Sunday kickoff.
– Joey Guerra

You’d be hard pressed to find a better morning after tonic than the Suffers, Houston’s spirited soul/ska/rocksteady band. They had an undesirable slot: first post-rain band on the main stage. Turnout was light, and the hill was empty.

The 10-person band played as though the grounds were full, serving up soulful stuff with verve and brass. Further they spilled sunshine from the first song on, with big-voiced singer Kam Franklin repeating the refrain, “I know it’s gonna be a real good day.”
– Andrew Dansby

- The Houston Chronicle

"Yr. Weekend, Pt. 2: The Suffers + The Ex-Optimists + Action Frank + Pre-Holiday Slaughter + The Blistering Speeds + More"

The biggie of the night, due in large part to The Suffers, who are one of the best damn reggae/rocksteady bands you’re likely to ever hear/see. I seriously, seriously like everything I’ve heard from these folks so far, and word is that they’re showing off some new music from their forthcoming EP. Vocalist Kam Franklin, in particular, is a star, and the rest of the band are damn talented musicians, a few of whom, at least (like drummer Patrick Kelly), have put in time in Houston’s up-and-down ska scene over the years. - Space City Rock

"HPMA Showcase: The 12 Best Artists of 2012"

The Suffers' rocksteady formula is most appealing in the shameless talent of the band in its entirety. Lead singer Kam Franklin's bellowing vocals lead a tremendously soulful band. The greatest appeal in rocksteady as a genre is that it fits to many different tastes, including those who have a penchant for R&B, reggae, jazz, acoustic or guitar-driven rock and so much more.
Point is, The Suffers can rile up any crowd in its entirety because of how their tunes can reach out to so many different types of people. Also, they happen to be great. Did I menion that already? ALEXA CRENSHAW - Houston Press (Village Voice Media)

"Houston Press Music Awards 2012 Showcase"

Fronted by Kam Franklin's heavenly howl, the Suffers bring forth a sexy brew of seductive vocals, horns and an almost ghostly sway that keeps first-wave ska and rocksteady alive. Built on a pedigree of Los Skarnales, Heptic Skeptic and Ryan Scroggins's Trenchtown Texans, among others, the ten-piece drops that holy skanking beat into more than able hands- CRAIG HLAVATY - Houston Press (Village Voice Media)

"Sound Check:Hurt So Good!"

At a Midtown bar, half the members of The Suffers band sip beers and trade stories from their trombone player’s recent 25th birthday. Apparently, festivities included piña coladas, loud Selena music and gallons of nacho cheese, the leftovers of which took days to polish off. “We sound like drunk fatties, don’t we?” asks singer Kam Franklin.

The self-deprecating humor and down-to-earth vibe—despite their rising profile—make the 10-member band, which plays Rudyard’s (2010 Waugh Dr., 713.521.0521) July 6, seem that much more appealing. With just a year together under their belt, they’re climbing the local music scene with their custom blend of ska, jazz and reggae. And this fall they’ll release their first record.

The band, whose name is a nod to a Jamaican movie from the ’70s starring several reggae artists, plucked members from a handful of other buzzy H-Town bands including Los Skarnales and The Handsomes. Franklin says starting the band was a little like the opening scenes of a superhero film. “We got this secret mission,” she says, feigning high drama. “I know who to call!”

Franklin, 25, punctuates the group—ages range from 23 to 33—with her boisterous persona, both youthful and old-soul. As the lone female, she sports colorful dresses and a contagious laugh.

Her voice is equally bold—and unique. She grew up singing gospel in a Baptist church, but joined a punk rock band after high school and later briefly tried her hand at country music. She’s finally at home in The Suffers, where she sprinkles country twang and gospel wails into her rich performances. “This is the first band that allows me to be myself,” she says. “I don’t have to apologize for my sound.”

The distinctive vocals and mix of musical forms has helped The Suffers find an unusually wide audience. A chunk of their set is made of accessible, genre-flipping covers that appeal to all ages; they frequently turn Bobby Brown’s “Every Little Step I Take” into a reggae jam, for example. “My mother has come to see us, and [she didn’t leave] in the middle of the show,” Franklin laughs.

Their shows are increasingly popular, with fans eager for the upcoming album. It’ll include “Giver,” a sultry, full-bodied tune about a heartbreaking bad boy. “Let me light your cigarette,” croons songwriter Franklin, a diehard nonsmoker. “Oh baby, I’m a giver.”

There’s no such drama among band members. Even after punching the clock in their side jobs—Franklin’s an analyst at an investment bank by day—they enjoy each other’s company with bright affability recalling that of a sitcom cast. The devout foodies also share photos of their latest food finds in group texts. (Current fave: Korean barbecue truck Oh My Gogi.)

Of course, it could just be their honeymoon phase. “If I were to compare [the band] to anything,” says Franklin, “it’d be your first high school love.” - Modern Luxury Magazine


The best-of lists have been tabulated. The singles have been counted down. (Adele topped them all, by the way.) Enough with looking back.

The Houston scene is shaping up for another exciting year. Fresh music from old favorites. Quirky side projects. Promising new acts. And a sci-fi soul opus. Read on for what’s to come in 2012:


The Suffers: This all-star collaboration features members of Los Skarnales, IDIGINIS, Lower Life Form, Ryan Scroggins & the Trenchtown Texans and Heptic Skeptic. A five-song EP is due this spring, followed by a series of Texas and Louisiana dates. Vocalist Kam Franklin also plans a summer solo record. The Suffers perform Saturday at Rudyard's. - 29-95 / Houston Chronicle / Joey Guerra


Slow It Down b/w Step Aside - 7"/ Hi-Res Digital - June 2013

Gwan - Digital Single - December 2013

Giver (Live) - Digital Single - January 2014



The Suffers are a ten-piece band from Houston, TX who are redefining the sound of Gulf Coast Soul, intertwining elements of Classic American Soul with Rock & Roll. Both sonically and visually arresting, the large ensemble packs each position of the rhythm section and horn section with a level of talent and taste that provides the perfect foundation for singer Kam Franklins massive voice. The bands sincerity and emotion are laid bare in their music, which has garnered an audience so broad and varied that they may prove to be the panacea for a jaded and stratified live music scene. 

The Suffers award-winning live show relentlessly forces people onto the dance floor with high-energy cuts like Gwan, a sweaty, afrobeat-inspired song about getting down, and the uplifting, yearning soul of Make Some Room. The nights only respite comes in the form of Giver, a smoky, throbbing blues ballad during which vocalist Kam Franklins heart-wrenching lyrics hold the audience rapt as the song builds to a climax that has, quite literally, brought audience members to bittersweet tears. 

The Suffers ten-piece line up was curated by bassist Adam Castaneda and keyboardist/songwriter/vocalist Pat Kelly in 2011. The pair brought on trumpet player Jon Durbin, trombonist Michael Razo, guitarist Kevin Bernier, and percussionist Jose Chapy Luna, all band mates from earlier projects. Filling out the rhythm section are accomplished jazz saxophonist Cory Wilson and songwriting/producing duo Alex Zamora on guitar/vocals and Nick Zamora on drums/vocals. Vocalist/songwriter Kam Franklin, having recently completed a tour with London-based group The Very Best, was recruited to front the band.

In a short time, the band has progressed from packing local Houston venues to accepting invitations for main stage performances at the 20th annual Austin Reggae Festival, Houstons Free Press Summer Festival, and Paste Magazines Untapped Festival where theyve shared the stage with the likes of The Wailers, Mavis Staples, Alabama Shakes, The Walkmen, and Cat Power. The Suffers have accepted four Houston Press Music Awards in two years and have been listed among the top musical acts to watch in 2014 by the Houston Press and Houston Chronicle. The bands debut video, a live performance of Giver, was recently premiered by Side One Track One following a hugely successful performance during Austins Free Week. Work has already begun on a follow-up to their debut 45, which will be a full-length album planned for release in 2014.    

The Suffers music is available in stores now as well as at, iTunes, and Amazon.

The Suffers social channels are also rife with entertainment for those lonely times between shows:

Band Members